Out of more than 50 universities nationwide, Illinois State University’s National Art Education Association (NAEA) Student Chapter has earned the 2020 Outstanding Student Chapter Award.

“It was really exciting,” said Alice Brandenburg, chapter president.

At the start of her presidential term in fall 2019, Brandenburg, an art education major, became inspired by the creativity and talent of the chapter’s 34 members. She promised them that their hard work and passion for art education would be recognized with the national award.

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“This award is a testament to the K-12 visual art teachers of Illinois who inspired this next generation of art educators,” said Dr. Kelly Gross, assistant professor of art education and the NAEA chapter faculty advisor.

Brandenburg joined NAEA as a freshman and is upholding her mother’s legacy by serving as an NAEA Chapter president. Her mother had served as the NAEA Student Chapter president at Eastern Illinois University and has spent over 20 years as an art educator.

“It’s something that I wanted to do, and I knew I had to be a part of it. I’m really glad I took that initiative,” Brandenburg said.

Students join the chapter to build community, engage in civic events, and develop professionally.

NAEA at Festival ISU 2019

NAEA members engage with other students at Festival ISU in 2019.

The award application process consisted of submitting a document introducing the chapter’s board members and highlighting its advocacy events, community service, fundraising, professional development, and group presentation. Additionally, Brandenburg and Gross each wrote a letter about the chapter explaining why it was deserving of this honor.

“I work with such a great group of people. I couldn’t have written what I did, and I couldn’t have advocated for them if they weren’t who they were,” Brandenburg said.

The chapter planned to attend the 2020 NAEA National Convention scheduled for March in Minneapolis. However, the event was cancelled due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“We were scheduled to have a presentation there,” Brandenburg said. “We would’ve met with the retired board members and preservice members, and we would’ve been recognized in front of the organization as a whole.”

Nevertheless, Brandenburg values the hard work, creativity, and dedication the members have put forth this year to achieve success.

“This year, hopefully, is setting a standard of what future generations know they can achieve and what they should deserve from the work that they do. I truly believe that we can only go up from here,” Brandenburg said.

Explore more opportunities to get involved at RedbirdLife.IllinoisState.edu.